Different ways to open a cold call to get more meetings
Call agents at call centers across the world would agree that cold calling isn’t always easy. Up to 63% of salespeople feel that cold calling is what they dislike most about their jobs. And yet, when done correctly, it’s a highly effective marketing and sales tool.
There are different types of cold-call openers that you can use during calls. Do you know what they are and how to choose the right ones for different situations? If your cold calls aren’t getting you the results you’d like, this article will help.
We cover how to prepare for a cold-calling campaign, cold-calling basics, and the different types of cold-call openers. So try one of these three different cold-call openers today and supercharge your outbound sales.
When you call someone who isn’t anticipating the call with the purpose of marketing or selling something to them, that’s a cold call. It’s a sales technique that’s been around since the birth of the outbound call center, and it will always be a valuable sales tool.
Not all calls made from a call center are cold calls, but the majority are. It’s always harder to market a product, especially to make a sale, on an unsolicited call. But the reason why cold calls still exist is that they work!
The success or failure of a cold call is often due to preparation, so we’ll be looking at that next.
Any cold call is easier when your agents are properly prepared. When preparing a cold-calling campaign, follow these steps to maximize your success.
Decide who you are targeting with this campaign. Who would best respond to the product or service you are promoting or selling? You need to identify your audience to find your ideal leads.
Even the best small business call center software will only help you achieve your targets if you know who you are targeting! And remember, different demographics respond to different types of cold call openers.
Create a lead list. There are different ways to do this, but the easiest is with a sales prospecting tool. This collects leads that suit your target audience profile online. Search for leads based on criteria you set, such as location.
Once you have your lead list, you’ll start building up your CRM profiles. This is why you may want to consider using predictive dialers for cold calls. A predictive dialer with integrated CRM is the perfect combo to maximize call agent utilization, increase call volumes, and stay on top of customer information.
Step #3: Get to Know Your Potential Customers
What do you know about the leads on your list? The more information you can provide your team with, the better they can engage your leads. Have they shown an interest in what you’re marketing or selling anywhere online?
Write your basic script. This will cover the basics of what you are promoting or selling. Your agents need to be familiar with the contents of this script. If they sound like they’re reading it off a screen for the first time, the people they’re talking to will sense that.
Things get a bit more complicated when you’re running multiple cold call campaigns, but it doesn't have to be chaotic. With a parallel predictive dialer, you can run several campaigns at once, simultaneously and in parallel. This dialer software for call center use is perfect for outbound call centers looking to scale their business.
Establish a call cadence for your campaign. Call cadence is the timing and frequency of calls to the people on your lead lists. How often will your outbound-focused sales team reach out to leads, and how long will they wait before follow-up calls?
Each cold call may follow the same formula, but the experience is always different. Although you can control how your call agent handles sales and telemarketing calls, it’s much harder to control how each cold call recipient may react.
The agent has been trained for this scenario and works on a formula and a script. The prospective customer is reacting in the moment, based on their past experiences with cold calls.
It’s possible to direct the call in such a way that the call recipient feels at ease and engaged. Your call agents need to know how to achieve this from the moment the call is connected.
Here are a few important guidelines for making a good start:
Every call starts with a greeting. However, an agent making an unsolicited call can feel nervous about how the call will go. That often results in awkward greetings. Without a warm, friendly, and confident ‘hello’ at the start, a cold call can go off the rails very quickly.
Next is the introduction. Too often, new telesales agents and telemarketers give in to their anxiety over cold calls and forget to introduce themselves and the company properly. Consider the call recipient: nobody likes to get an unexpected call and then not know who they are talking to or why.
Ask if it’s a convenient time to talk or if the person on the other end can spare a couple of minutes. This can be problematic because they could just say ‘no’. However, launching into a cold call script only to be interrupted by an angry person who is very busy at the time is not conducive to a sale, either.
We’ve looked at the importance of a warm greeting, a professional introduction, and getting the timing right. But once all of that’s out of the way, what happens next? Your agent will be moving into their reason for calling, and this is where things can get tricky.
To master the art of the cold call opener and improve conversions, you need to remember that every situation is unique.
Some of the leads on your list have interacted with your competitors before, and some have yet to. Some have expressed an interest in similar products online; others have yet to. To further complicate matters, some may have had a prior negative experience with cold calling.
Whenever possible, call agents must use the available information on such issues at their disposal to guide them to the correct cold call opener. But generally speaking, the following three types of cold call openers should help them on their way:
When you examine your outbound call center performance metrics, how many deals are you closing with the first call? It may be that your opening lines are failing you.
Start with a friendly introduction, for example: “Hello, Mr/Ms XXX. My name is XXX, and I’m calling you today on behalf of XXX.”
If it sounds friendly and upbeat, the lead will be more likely to wait and hear what you have to say.
Offer to solve their problems right from the introduction, without sounding pushy.
“Good day, Mr/Ms. XXX. Have you been struggling with (the pain point you intend to address)? My name is XXX, and I’m calling you today to tell you how XXX can resolve that problem for you.”
This sounds confident right from the beginning, speaks to their needs, and gets their attention.
This is one of the types of cold call openers that never fails to get their attention. It implies a mutual connection, and that fosters a connection with the lead right away.
“Hello, Mr/Ms. XXX. My name is XXX, and I’m calling you from XXX. I’m calling you today because XXX mentioned that you may be interested in our innovative new (product/service).”
When your telesales agent opens a sales call, they know what they’re about to do next. Their intention is to make a sale. They have not been caught off-guard. The cold call recipient, on the other hand, was not expecting a sales call.
In a way, this is to your sales agent’s advantage. The call has not started with any defenses put up. The possibility of a sale is high if they find the right words. But words can only get them so far.
Here are a few other things to remember when you open a sales call:
Mind your tone when engaged in a cold call. On a phone call, there are no visual cues to base decisions on. All one has are audio cues, like the tone of voice. If your call agent sounds bored, stressed, anxious, or uncertain, they will not inspire confidence and trust in what they are selling.
In your eagerness to win the prospective customer over, it’s easy to get carried away by unnecessary banter. Stick to your objective. If it’s a sales call, you aim to get them interested in the product or service and hopefully buy or subscribe to it.
To do this, you must determine their needs, challenges, and buying process. Ask questions that give you this information.
Qualify the prospect by following the BANT criteria. That means asking questions that assess their:
If you successfully meet at least three out of the four BANT criteria, the chances of a sale are greater.
An objection is not the same as a rejection. An objection may be based on various factors, like:
It’s up to you to address the reason behind the objection.
If the lead doesn’t seem viable at the time of the call, that doesn’t automatically disqualify them as a prospect. Have they met only one or two of the BANT criteria? There’s still the chance of a sale down the line. Keep the door open to a sale by offering to contact them again or sending more information.
The right words will boost the odds of a closed deal, or at least a request for more information about the product or service. But while the right opening lines will set your agent up for success, the wrong words can spell disaster. So, what opening lines should you avoid using when making cold calls?
When you open a cold call by apologizing for contacting them in this way, you create a negative impression. It shows a lack of confidence. It also gives the call recipient the perfect opportunity to end the call. Be respectful and warm from the start. Accept it if they say it’s a bad time to call, but don’t start off apologetic.
Another no-no is a pushy opening line. If you start by saying you’re calling to sell them something, you may lose the call right there. They haven't even heard your pitch yet; they’re not going to want to feel pressured to buy right away.
This is a common mistake that new telemarketers make. Rushing through the pitch at lightning speed right at the start is a sign of a nervous call agent. Once again, this can spell doom, as your agent will appear to lack confidence.
Cold calls really put your training strategies and your employees’ skills to the test. But are they worth it? They are when you do them correctly. This requires discernment so that your call agents know when to use the different cold call opening lines they’ve been taught.
But even the best types of cold call openers will only work when backed by good preparation and the right technology. That’s why, at Autoreach, we offer the best automated dialer technologies to give your cold calling a competitive edge.
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